Mali: Two UN Peacekeepers Killed

FILE - A peacekeeper with the United Nations patrols outside the mosque in Mopti, central Mali, May 30, 2018

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The United Nations says two U.N. peacekeepers from Sri Lanka were killed when their convoy hit a land mine in the West African nation of Mali.

A spokesman for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said six other Sri Lankan peacekeepers were injured in Friday’s blast, which took place in Mali’s central Mopti region, near the town of Douentza.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said a peacekeeper from Burkina Faso was injured in a separate attack Thursday, also near Douentza. He said that attack involved an improvised explosive device.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Guterres condemned the attacks and said that targeting U.N. peacekeepers “may constitute war crimes,” according to his spokesman.

The U.N. Security Council called the attacks acts of terrorism and urged Mali’s government to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice.

The attacks came several days after gunmen killed 10 Chadian peacekeepers and wounded 25 others in an attack on a U.N. camp in northern Mali.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack.

Mali has struggled to regain stability after extremists linked to al-Qaida took control of the country’s north in 2012. That led France, Mali’s former colonial power, to intervene in the country militarily beginning in 2013 to help Malian government forces drive jihadists out of the north.

After French and Malian forces pushed the militants back from their strongholds, U.N. peacekeepers deployed to the country to help counter jihadist activity, but extremists still operate in the country.

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